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Matthew Ramirez Edit

Matthew Ramirez

Why do you admire this person?

Growing up in a poor area in the US, Ramirez worked his way up through community college to being a PhD candidate at the University of California. There, teaching large undergrad English classes, he was not satisfied with the level of feedback he was able to give to such a large number of students. He realized that, through algorithms, he could provide much more in depth guidance for better writing. Skills in effective writing could largely be represented statistically, so he created WriteLab, which uses AI to evaluate students’ work and provide them with guidance.

Are they solving problems, creating new solutions, technologies, changing the world, making a difference, in a way you admire?

Now worth two and a half million dollars, WriteLab is used in both Ivy League universities and low-income high schools alike. He has manipulated digital technology to help students with their English abilities, something that seems impossible to do with algorithms. He provides an amazing example of how technology can make the world a better place. He has employed it to improve his life immensely, as well of those of the thousands of students who use his technology.

Do some research into their background - how did they get to where they are? Are there marked shifts in their path & work?

Ramirez used his initial passion for English and learning to build a new career for himself. From under-privileged child to PhD candidate to CEO, he followed his greatest competencies to unchartered territory, which in turn won him huge success, and a lasting mark on the world.

If you think of what this person has achieved, what seems to define success?

As a teacher, his success lies not only in his own financial gain, but in his ability to help students learn on a bigger scale than any teaching career would have allowed him to do. His “classroom” is now worldwide and provides individualized learning despite being thousands of students strong.�

Jessica Alba Edit

Jessica Alba

Why do you admire this person?

While Jessica Alba may seem to be a strange choice, she has actually had an incredibly unique and successful career path. She transitioned from being one of the most famous actresses in Hollywood to running a billion dollar corporation, The Honest Company. She was able to harness the trend of natural, eco-conscious products to build her fortune, and create a brand that promtes the values she is passionate about.

Are they solving problems, creating new solutions, technologies, changing the world, making a difference, in a way you admire?

Her brand is unique in that it offers a huge range of consistently health-conscious products. Honest offers everything from baby formula to cleaning products to makeup, so that customers have peace of mind for all their family members. These products are offered in a very accessible way, being sold online and in stores. Such a wide-reaching company was missing from the natural goods market, which is saturated with small scale, specialized businesses. This shows her incredible foresight in creating a company that had to potential to expand into the empire it now is.

Do some research into their background - how did they get to where they are? Are there marked shifts in their path & work?

After becoming a mother and winding down her acting career, Alba became passionate about natural products for her home and family. After discovering a lack of products that fit her criteria, she began to consider a brand of her own. She sought out other entrepreneurs to confound Honest with, and the company very soon took off. It became hugely popular online, and was almost immediately able expand its presence into stores across the US. Now well established in Canada they are working on global expansion, beginning with Asia. Still acting in a considerable number of movies, Alba works full time at the Honest head office, overseeing marketing and brand development.

If you think of what this person has achieved, what seems to define success? Have they had multiple successes?

Alba has certainly had multiple success as both an actress and entrepreneur. While her first success brought her fame and fortune, her second career at Honest has won her more. Not only does she make even more money than she did as an A-lister, but this success is also defined by the values she has been able to promote through her products. What was once a desire to keep her family healthy, she has now harnessed to make herself one of the most successful women in the world.

Bibliography:

O'Connor, Clare. Forbes. Forbes Magazine, 15 June 2015. Web. 05 Dec. 2016. <http://www.forbes.com/sites/clareoconnor/2015/05/27/how-jessica-alba-built-a-1-billion-company-and-200-million-fortune-selling-parents-peace-of-mind/#37fda2d61f0c>.

"30 Under 30." Forbes. Ed. Caroline Howard. Forbes Magazine, 4 Jan. 2016. Web. 06 Dec. 2016. <http://www.forbes.com/30-under-30-2016/education/#1a9c22934f23>.

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